STS-88 Launch Visibility Info

Mir16609@aol.com
Sat, 28 Nov 1998 01:01:37 EST

Time to repost a useful message for those along the East Coast of the USA.
The original posting from Quinster7@aol.com may be found here:
http://www2.satellite.eu.org/seesat/Sep-1997/0322.html

Posted launch obs using this as a guideline:
http://www2.satellite.eu.org/seesat/Sep-1997/0373.html
http://www2.satellite.eu.org/seesat/Jan-1998/0244.html

The launch (December 3rd) window is approximately 3:54 to 4:04a.m. EST
(08:54-09:04 UTC); liftoff planned for 3:59 a.m.

Here's the post:
---------------------------------------------------
(Cuts referencing the STS-86 Mission)

The Shuttle will be visible by virtue of the light emanating from its three
main engines.  It should appear as a very bright, pulsating, fast-moving
star, shining with a yellowish-orange glow.  The brightness should be at
least equal to the planet Jupiter.  Observers who train binoculars on the
Shuttle should be able to see it look like a tiny V-shaped contrail.

Along the Southeast U.S. coastline, anywhere north of Cape Canaveral, it is
suggested that you look low toward the south-southeast sky within 2 to 4
minutes after the launch (to the south of the Cape, look low toward the
north-northeast).  In the mid-Atlantic region, look toward the
south-southeast about 4 to 7 minutes after launch, while in the northeast
U.S., look low toward the south-southeast about 7 to 8 minutes after launch.

Atlantis will seem to "flicker," then abruptly wink-out 8 1/2 minutes after
launch as the main engines shut-down and the huge, orange, external tank is
jettisoned over the Atlantic at a point 415 miles southeast of New York City.
 At that moment, [Endeavour] will be at an altitude of 375,000 feet (71
statute
miles) and should be visible for a radius of 700 statute miles from the point
of main engine cutoff (MECO).  Of course. . . before hoping to see the
Shuttle streak across your local sky, you should make sure it has left the
launch pad!  Watch the launch on CNN, or listen to a radio station that is
covering it live.  Then head outside and start looking skyward.

VISIBILITY DATA FOR SELECTED EAST COAST CITIES
                           
                  Time of closest
Location             Approach        Max.Altitude
                     Azimuth
                    (T + Min.)        (Deg.)
                    (Deg.)

Savannah, GA          T + 3.5          10.2
                      142.6     
Spartanburg, SC       T + 4.5           4.4
                      137.3
Myrtle Beach, SC      T + 5.0          13.8
                      140.7
Wilmington, NC        T + 5.5          15.3
                      142.7
Greensboro, NC        T + 6.0           6.6
                      128.0
Cape Hatteras, NC     T + 6.5          22.1
                      146.6
Roanoke, VA           T + 6.5           5.0
                      126.3
Norfolk, VA           T + 7.0          11.9
                      129.5
Hagerstown, MD        T + 7.5           5.0
                      129.8
Washington, DC        T + 7.5           6.8
                      127.9
Philadelphia, PA      T + 8.0           7.8
                      132.2
Atlantic City, NJ     T + 8.0          10.0
                      131.9
New York City         T + 8.5           8.0
                      129.6
Boston, MA            T + 8.5           7.8
                      160.8
Portland, ME          T + 8.5           5.5
                      169.8

Cheers
Don Gardner
Homepage: http://hometown.aol.com/mir16609/
76.8419 W, 39.1796 N,  34m ASL